Even in showing kindness, take care to observe rules of business

Woman with money and a time clock

In the giving season, it is easy to be presented with numerous opportunities to be generous, but you can be unwise with your generosity.

There is nothing wrong with helping customers in need, but when you are unwise with your giving, you can end up with unhappy clients who do not appreciate the extra work and may even want their money back for the work they did pay for.

When your generosity is misplaced, it can result in lost money, wasted time and frustration with clients who are not only ungrateful but may even file a lawsuit.

Unwise generosity can occur when you feel sorry for the client, you really want to give them a break, or you know how badly they need your services.

This can result in your decision to drastically lower your prices, do the work for free, or provide extra services that you don’t normally do.

If you catch yourself demonstrating these traits – that is, putting aside normal business practices – there is chance that things could go wrong.

Generosity is a wonderful trait, but it’s often impulsive, and acting impulsively is not a good business strategy.

To keep yourself from wasting time and money on those who won’t really appreciate it, create an explicit policy.

The point is you need to determine who you will be generous toward, how you’ll be generous and under what circumstance you’ll be generous.

Say you have a deep respect for military veterans. You could choose to give veteran clients 10 percent off your snowplowing services during the holidays. Select whatever group you feel compassionate toward and whatever discount you know your company can handle.

No one dictates that you can help only one group of people, but having specific policies in place for how you treat, say, senior citizen customers will prevent any unwise generosity that causes you to give away too much for too little.

By having these guidelines, it will keep you from losing money, being taken for granted, and getting into arguments with clients.

With a program in place you will have an outlet for your generosity that won’t put your company in jeopardy.

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